Easily enjoy a healthy holiday season with these easy tips.
Healthy eating is important all year, however it can be harder over the holiday season. The holidays are busy and filled with parties. Even though it is “the most wonderful time of the year” it can be a hard time to eat healthy.
Here are 5 tips and tricks I use as a nutritionist and food scientist to stay on track.
1. Start your healthy holiday off right with breakfast
Eat a healthy breakfast. I adjust what I eat for breakfast if I know I am going out or attending a party that day.
For these special days, I start the day with plain oatmeal, topped with a handful of dried unsweetened cranberries and a spoon of unsalted, unsweetened nut butter. Oatmeal (some of you may call it porridge) helps control your appetite later in the day by stabilizing your blood sugar levels.
2. Have a healthy snacks before the party
Snacking may sound counterintuitive. However, if you show up to a party hungry, you will have a harder time resisting unhealthy foods. Combat this by enjoying a healthy snack before the party.
I often enjoy a serving of unsweetened, plain yogurt with sliced banana. Yogurt has protein that helps slow your stomach from emptying. The banana is potassium rich and can help balance an increased salt intake. Many party foods are high in sodium, such as olives, chips, dips, etc.
When you eat before the party, you have started with healthy choices. Since you will be less hungry, you will have the ability to discern which party treats are worth it.
Healthy Snack Ideas:
- Unsweetened plain yogurt with sliced banana
- Unsweetened dried fruits with dry roasted, unsalted nuts
- Slice of 100% whole grain bread with unsalted, unsweetened nut butter and sliced fruit
- Homemade vegetable soup
3. Healthier choices make a healthy holiday
Make healthier choices at the party. You know that party foods can be harder to navigate when you are eating healthy. Here are some tips.
First, start by looking through your options before you start filling your plate.
Next, fill at least half your plate with salad and vegetables. Then, fill the other half with protein-based foods fish, chicken and beans.
Try to avoid overeating foods high in cream, cheese, sugars or are fried.
Take your time eating once you have filled your plate. Also, try to move away from the food (and the kitchen) after you have eaten.
4. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is always important, however it is even more important on the days you will be going out or partying.
Drink six to eight (8 ounce) glasses of water to avoid dehydration. Even mild dehydration can lead to headaches, especially when compounded with high sodium intake and alcohol consumption.
Teas and coffee does count towards your water intake, but these do not work for me. I love tea, but have it in addition to good ole plain water.
A trick I learned a few years back, is to always start the day with a glass of water (or two). This habit will help you stay on the path of hydration.
If you are drinking during the holiday season, try to limit yourself to 1 alcoholic drink an hour. Alternate between water (or healthy mocktails) and alcohol. Alcoholic drinks can contribute many empty calories, sugars and fats depending on what you drink. Here are 10 Christmas Cocktails so Delicious You will Forget they are Healthy (ish).
5. Get back on track
After a big night out, it is important to get back on track with your healthy eating habits for a healthy holiday season. Eat a healthy breakfast and make sure you continue to hydrate.
Balance is important when it comes to healthy eating. In the past, I tried to maintain diets where I eat healthy 100% of the time, including at parties, and I never successfully stayed on the diet. Rigidity is exhausting and isolating when it comes to food.
Now I use the 80/20 rule. I aim to eat healthy 80% of the time, while leaving 20% for treats and special occasions. I also see being flexitarian similar to the 80/20 rule.
How do you plan to have a healthy holiday season? Let me know in the comments below…